It’s everywhere, Gluten Free this Gluten Free that, some think its the latest fad and some think its a new age hippy way of eating. You only need to ask at a counter of a deli or even a chemist if the item you are buying is gluten-free, and see the stunned blank look of “gluten who”? to know that some simply think you are just being fussy. But they don’t know that eating gluten could kill me.
For many people trying gluten-free eating has been a blessing, helping them to lose weight, ease bloating, help calm digestive issues and help manage pain – i.e. joint pain or perhaps putting a halt to migraines.
No matter why you decide to go gluten-free, I am sure it has to be a good thing! There are many positives and even for some , like me, it is life saving.
So What Is Gluten?
Gluten is a protein molecule that is found in foods such as wheat, rye and barley. It is the name given to a protein fraction found in grains called prolamins. It is these prolamins which are often harmful. Gluten is also hidden in a lot of foods and this is why, when people go on a gluten-free diet and don’t notice any difference, they are more than likely eating hidden gluten, it is everywhere.
Should We Eat Grain?
Based on the development of our human digestive system we are not supposed to eat grains at all. Especially not the quantity or poor quality highly processed grains that many people eat far too much of. You may not feel that you can eliminate grains completely for one reason or another. If you are not ready to do this thatâ€™s ok, many people find that they feel much better when they decrease wheat and other grains from their diet and avoid highly processed grains, eating only whole grains. Start there and see how you feel, Iâ€™m sure it wonâ€™t be too long until you consider cutting the amount of grain in your diet more or even eliminating them from your diet completely. I did and it made a HUGE difference.
But It Doesnâ€™t Affect Me Why Should I Stop Eating It?
Many people think that gluten doesnâ€™t affect them because they eat foods containing gluten all of the time and feel fine. blood tests from your doctor can determine if you have a gluten allergy or intolerance, but I find the best and most reliable test, is to eliminate all grains from your diet apart from corn, rice, buckwheat and millet for 2 weeks. If you feel better when you are not eating it, the chances are that you have a gluten intolerance. I find that with most of my allergies and intolerances, that I have to be off them for a month or more, then reintroduce them ONE at a time, then I can tell what it was that caused a reaction.
Effects Of Gluten
By far the most serious reaction for people sensitive to gluten is that experienced by people suffering from Celiac disease. When people with Celiac Disease eat gluten the lining of their small intestine becomes inflamed and the gluten protein is seen as an invader destroying the villi. Villi are Microscopic finger-like projections that line the inner wall of the small intestine. After food passes from the stomach into the small intestine, nutrients in the food are absorbed into the body through the villi. Every person has millions of villi in his intestines.
In people with untreated celiac disease, inflammation in the small intestine makes the villi shrink and flatten. This reduces the surface area of the intestines and the ability to absorb nutrients properly. Untreated celiac disease can be life threatening. Celiacs are more likely to be afflicted with problems relating to malabsorption, including osteoporosis, tooth enamel defects, central and peripheral nervous system disease, pancreatic disease, internal hemorrhaging, organ disorders (gall bladder, liver, and spleen), and gynecological disorders. Untreated celiac disease has also been linked an increased risk of certain types of cancer, especially intestinal lymphoma.
There are no drugs to treat celiac disease and there is no cure. But celiacs can lead normal, healthy lives by following a gluten free diet. This means avoiding all products derived from wheat, rye, and barley.
What if Your Tests are OK?
I was told I did not have a gluten issue or intolerance, I knew I did, I know my body better than any Doctor and I knew that when I ate gluten I felt sick! It wasnt until I saw a new Dr, who was also an allergy specialist did I actually get a Genetic test for Celiac Disease. It was positive. What did this mean? well to the lay Dr nothing, unless I had an endoscopy to determine if the gluten had killed off my Villi and my inflammation was caused by this, then no one would diagnose me with Celiac Disease. To get this test done I had to eat copious amounts of gluten for 6 weeks before the test to make sure it was indeed killing me. I refused!
I went back to my local Dr, who, after seeing the positive gene test, seeing the rash I get when I eat gluten and knowing my history diagnosed me on the spot!
This is the stupidest thing in this whole idiotic process of getting a celiac diagnosis….The gene, which I have, can activate at anytime during your life, for any reason, its like a celiac ticking time bomb, stress might trigger it, or nothing might, it might just decide to activate of it own accord, maybe even a week or a day after these invasive tests, so why on earth, when we don’t need gluten to survive would people with the gene actually take the risk?
Celiacs Disease is genetic and I have told my family members all of this information, to date not one of them have had the simple blood test to define if they also carry the gene….Tick Tick Tick!
I am extremely pro active with my celiac disease that even my husband is gluten-free, so there is no cross contamination in our house. So when I go out and am told things are gluten-free to discover later they are not, it really gets my goat and they sure know about it, I have not put one speck of gluten in my mouth, on my body, on my hair, lips or otherwise, since my diagnosis, so I wont let anyone else mess that up!
I will continue to share my gluten-free stories and how I cope being totally grain free in future blogs including my experiences with hair and face care items that are certified gluten-free and why I use them.